Expedition cruises are a holiday unlike any other. Venture into territory which is rarely visited and only accessible by expedition ships. Unique itineraries will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to explore regions such as Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Galapagos. Smaller ships mean you’ll share these experiences with a small group of fellow passengers onboard. While on shore, a range of excursions and activities allow guests to truly immerse themselves in the destinations they visit.
2023-2024 Expedition Cruise Holidays
Below is one of our favourite expedition cruise holidays. But there are hundreds to choose from.
For more options, search for your perfect expedition cruise holiday using our cruise finder or call our advisors on 0800 412 5678.
Emblematic Antarctica with Ponant
9 nights full board onboard Le Boreal
Itinerary: Ushuaia, Argentina | Crossing Drake Passage | Antarctic Peninsula | Crossing Drake Passage | Ushuaia, Argentina
Superior Stateroom from £8,790pp
- 9-night cruise onboard Le Boreal
- 1-night pre-cruise accommodation in Buenos Aires
- Internal flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia
- Meals and drinks onboard
- Shore excursions and activities
Valid for departures 27 November 2023
Alternative dates available
Please note: price excludes international flights. For flight inclusive pricing please speak to our Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678.
What our silver travellers say about expedition cruises
“The Antarctic Convergence is that place where the cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the relatively warmer waters of the sub-Antarctic. And on our voyage this pretty much coincided with where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet too. We were treated to an exceptional sight – a super pod of marine activity: around 200 pilot whales, fur seals and a couple of humpback whales blowing in the distance surrounded the ship. The water was filled with dramatic action!”
Jennie Carr undertook an Antarctica Expedition with Swan Hellenic. Read the full article here.
Expedition cruise destinations
Travel as far south as it is possible to go and witness a vast wilderness of untouched landscapes. Home to a rich wildlife population, you’ll be greeted by penguins, seals, orcas and humpback whales.
Venture north to the arctic circle via several countries, including Norway, Greenland, Canada or Iceland. Witness wildlife, wilderness communities and perhaps a glimpse of the northern lights.
A genuinely unique archipelago, the Galapagos is packed full of adventure, from spotting endemic plants and animals to snorkelling with sea lions and admiring the remote nature all around.
The Northwest Passage
Explore remote villages and breathtaking views along the Northwest Passage, which snakes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Ocean.
Navigate along the west coast of America’s largest state, Alaska and witness glaciers, fjords and stunning National Parks, all home to unique wildlife.
South Pacific Cruises
An alternative to cold water cruising, the South Pacific is littered with remote islands, deserted beaches and marine-filled waters to explore.
British Isle Cruises
You don’t need to look far to find an authentic expedition cruising experience – the Outer Hebrides in Scotland alone is an excellent destination.
Silver Travel Advisor Expedition Cruise Partners
hand-picked for you
Expedition Cruise FAQs
Is it irresponsible to travel to regions such as Antarctica?
Protected regions such as Antarctica and the Arctic are some of the most highly regulated tourism destinations in the world. International organisations, such as IAATO in Antarctica and AECO in the Arctic, work to ensure these unique landscapes remain preserved for generations. They promote safe and environmentally responsible travel to these regions in order to limit the impact brought by tourism and maintain the fragile environment and ecosystems.
It should also be noted that expedition cruise lines such as PONANT lead the way in sustainable sailing. Their latest ship, the icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot, is the first hybrid polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas and electric generators. They have also offset 150% of theircarbon emissions and were the first cruise line to achieve Green Marine Certification.
Are expedition ships old with outdated facilities?
What is there to do onboard when you are not exploring?
How do you get ashore to visit the mainland?
Due to the remote nature of the destinations visited on an expedition cruise, it’s not always possible to dock alongside the mainland. Instead, the ship will dock offshore and use a fleet of zodiacs to transport guests to the mainland for excursions and activities.
A zodiac is a rigid inflatable boat which the crew will steady by the side of the ship, and guests will climb aboard. It may seem daunting at first, but a full safety demonstration will be given before the first zodiac outing, and the crew are experts at putting guests at ease.
The zodiacs are also used to access viewpoints best observed from the water and in warmer destinations as a snorkelling platform.
Do you need to be fit and active to enjoy an expedition cruise?
There’s no denying that an expedition cruise is more involved than other holiday options. But an expedition cruise is suitable for anyone with a basic fitness level. For example, getting in and out of the zodiac requires a similar fitness level to getting in and out of a moving bathtub.
Most cruise lines will offer various shore excursions to cater to varying fitness levels. So you may want to go hiking, kayaking, or snorkelling, or choose a lighter activity such as wildlife viewing or a short stroll to view the surrounding areas.
Are expedition cruises expensive?
Due to the itinerary’s nature, expedition cruises carry a higher price tag than mainstream cruising. However, given the once-in-a-lifetime experience, it could be considered money well spent. As with any other holiday, there are expedition cruise options across the budget scale. As the destination is the main attraction, a good value option may be to choose an older ship which offers more basic accommodation.
On the other end of the scale, luxury expedition cruises are out-of-this-world with fine dining, ultra-luxury suites and butler service.
Our team will be happy to discuss the options and find an expedition cruise right for you.
Is an expedition cruise good for single travellers?
Absolutely. Once onboard, the small group of guests quickly become friends thanks to shared outings on the zodiac and evenings spent telling tales of exploration from the day’s activities. There’s so much to take in and learn that part of the fun is sharing the experiences with other guests.
Our top tip for single travellers considering an expedition cruise is to look out for cruise lines or special promotions with no single supplement. This means you won’t be paying more for taking a cabin to yourself. Some of our cruise line travel partners offer no single supplement as standard, while others provide a single reduced supplement with special limited-time offers, which remove the supplement altogether.
Expedition Cruise Articles
For more ideas, inspiration and advice on expedition cruising, you might also like to take a look at articles from our travel writers on their adventures:
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