As more lines get involved in expedition cruising, the niche offers an expanded and refined product


Marilyn
Excursions on an expedition cruise are often subject to change depending on weather, sea conditions, and wildlife sightings.
Today’s expedition cruising is evolving to include more than just in-depth experiences. Luxury cruise lines are investing in this cruise niche, while expedition lines are refining their products and creating distinctive specialties. In addition, the expedition style is spreading to include familiar destinations such as Europe, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Un-Cruise Adventures has made its mark by bringing the expedition approach to conventional cruising regions like Hawaii, offering more than the destination’s typical experiences. In 2016, the line will also venture into Costa Rica and Panama, and will expand into the Galapagos in 2015.

Lindblad Expeditions is also carrying the approach to familiar destinations, including Holland, Belgium, and the U.K. The line has found that European itineraries focused on cultural experiences are proving quite popular with guests.

Silversea Cruises, on the other hand, is taking the approach of bringing luxury passengers to expedition destinations. The line launched Silver Explorer in 2008 and added Silver Galapagos last year. Due to the success of the program, the Silver Discoverer will launch in March of this year, sailing to destinations including East Asia, the Russian Far East, and Australia/New Zealand.

Other lines with dedicated expedition ships include Celebrity’s Xpedition in the Galapagos and Holland America Line’s Prinsendam, which sails longer, more adventurous itineraries. Compagnie du Ponant is also emphasizing expeditions these days, adding a third ship to polar cruising in 2015. In addition, Hurtigruten has plans to stay longer in the polar region to highlight the adventurous side of the brand.

Seabourn recently added Antarctica to a lineup that already includes Machu Picchu in Peru; Kodo Island, Indonesia; and Aqaba and Wadi Rum, Jordan. The line will also sail to Myanmar and two-thirds of the African coast this year.

Another growing trend in expedition cruising is an increase in multigenerational groups and singles. Multigenerational groups are sailing to Alaska and the Galapagos, and even to remote destinations such as Antarctica.

The bottom line? Cruisers looking for authentic experiences coupled with luxurious comforts in a wide variety of destinations can now find it all on expedition sailings.