Is An Expedition Cruise Right For You?

expedition cruise shipIf you have been on any cruise, chances are it was a mega-cruise liner. You know the ones that carry 5,000 passengers or more! Now, that may not be your style with all of the crowds and endless food plus all of the additional expenses!

How about an expedition cruise? These can be some of the best ways, and in some cases, the only way to see remote areas of our planet. Antarctica and the Arctic are two of the favorite destinations for this type of cruise. Or, you can try Galapagos, Patagonia, Greenland, and Iceland, which are also very popular. So, what's so special about an expedition cruise, and would you like one? Here are some things you can expect.

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Small Ship Size

Most expedition cruise ships will carry less than 200 passengers with some under 100 guests! With a limited number of people, you'll have a chance to get to know your fellow explorers! When I've been on a smaller ship, we were frequently paired with others close to our ages. And at dinner, you'll have the chance to sit with different people every night, or if you'd rather be alone, you can. With the smaller groups, you'll get a chance to know everyone on board, and you may start to treat it as a family affair!

Fewer Distractions On Board

Because the ships are smaller, they do have their limits. If you're looking for a range of restaurants, want to spend time in a casino, or go flying down a waterslide, an expedition cruise may not be for you. The amenities on different ships vary; an expedition ship typically has one or two dining rooms, a bar, a small exercise room and maybe a small outdoor pool or hot tub without slides. On some of the luxury lines, you may find a spa, more restaurants and other perks normally found on larger liners, but there are only so many amenities you can fit on a modestly sized vessel.

Good Food, But No All Day (and night) Buffets

If you want to spend your vacation eating and drinking well, your appetite will be satisfied on an expedition cruise, you just won't eat around the clock. On most smaller ships, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered at a couple of set times with a variety of items, but there is no around the clock buffet. You'll find the food is well-prepared, and asking for seconds isn't frowned upon. Outside of the normal meal times, you will find snacks available, but they may only be cookies, tea and coffee.

Comfortable If Not Luxurious

On a lot of the expedition cruise ships, you'll find the cabins may be slightly larger than you'll find on most large ships. They'll have plenty of closet space and cubbies. The in-suite bathroom will only have a shower, but that's common on most cruise ships. On some of the luxurious ships, you can find plenty of premium options, but they can run you $1,000 per person per night! But remember, you're there to explore the world and not your cabin.

Pack Your Dramamine

Many expedition ships are retro-fitted research vessels made for pushing through ice fields. Others are purpose-built for expedition cruises. Their smaller dimensions and shallow draft, which allows them in areas the big ships can't go, means you're going to feel a choppy sea much more readily then you would on a big ship.

So, Is It For You?

The truth is, only you can answer that question. If you're looking for an experience in some of the remote areas of the world, check them out! If you like the mega-ships with all the amenities, you might want to stick to the big lines. But, if you're looking for an adventure that will give you stories to tell your grandkids, check out an expedition cruise!

If you need help finding a cruise that suits you, or you have some advice of others, leave a message in the comments below!

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