So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain, American Author
Monday, September 20, 2010
Are you up to an expedition cruise?
World weary travelers often avoid taking a cruise for fear of spending days onboard nothing but a floating mall. If you do not want to deal with thousands of tourists, theme nights, crowded ship amenities and touristy destinations but you wish to experience the excitement of being at sea for days at a time, expedition cruising may be perfect for you.
Expedition cruising, as the name suggests, places close emphasis on the exciting world of exploring remote locations of spectacular natural beauty and rich diversity. Instead of a detailed itinerary, you book for an open-ended route that may be inspired by a wild life sighting or simply to take advantage of a good weather. Instead of typical tropical locations full of tourists, it may take you to rarely heard-of localities in search of the wild and the untamed.
Exotic ports of call
The ports of call are not bustling tourist spots but quaint little towns with exotic names and the onshore excursions do not involve cramped shuttles and overcrowded attractions but may include a rafting tour alongside icebergs, swimming with whales and dolphins, or trekking through lush jungles. You are even welcome to observe the captain and his crew map out the course of the voyage.
This type of cruising is not made for just any kind of traveler. You need to be physically fit to keep up with the demands of the trip. You also need to be very flexible to accommodate the open-ended itinerary which may take a few extended days at sea. The weather can at times also be less than hospitable.
These cruises are usually aboard smaller vessels that provide better access and mobility in smaller ports. Part of the expedition cruising attraction includes the personalities that join the trip. These cruises usually cater to less than a hundred like-minded individuals who thrive in the open call of the wild. Some of them are wildlife photographers, nature trippers and extreme adventure enthusiasts.
What is great about this type of cruising is the absence of frills but not of comfortable luxury. You can still enjoy an en-suite cabin, good food and onboard recreation amenities. Although the latter can never compare with the larger-than-life offering of mass market cruises, the good company and adventure more than makes up for it.
Be prepared to pay
To enjoy this once in a lifetime adventure, be prepared to pay a few for it. The small size of vessel and the unique itineraries command top dollar. Also, it is wise to book way in advance. Trips such as these are usually arranged more than a year before to take into consideration changes of the weather and migratory seasons. Keep your schedule flexible for last minute changes that are sometimes inevitable.
Some of the most interesting parts of the globe frequented by expedition cruising includes Antarctica where you can get a glimpse of colossal icebergs and walk among thousands of penguins. Spitsbergen Island in Norway is another favourite where you can watch walruses and polar bears in a hunting frenzy. These are just some of the exotic regions that expedition cruising makes accessible to travelers who are eager to answer the call of adventure.