Frequently asked questions
How many passengers are on board expedition cruises?
Expedition cruises are all about fostering an intimate connection with nature and the surrounding environment. Expedition cruises are notable for their high staff-to-guest ratio when compared to a traditional cruise. Zodiacs have a capacity ranging from four to 20 people and many remote destinations have a cap on the number of passengers allowed ashore at one time.
How many passengers will be on my excursion?
Expedition cruises are all about offering intimate experiences in some of the most remote regions of the world. In order to protect the serene landscapes, some regions have restrictions on the number of passengers allowed to visit. Only one ship at a time is allowed to visit a landing site in the Antarctic, with a maximum of 100 passengers ashore at a time. Ships visiting the Galápagos must adhere to size restrictions that vary by island — from 40 to 100 passengers — and excursions on the Galápagos are limited to 20 passengers at a time.
What are the differences between a wet and dry landing?
A wet or dry landing is all about the likelihood of your feet getting wet. In some ports, the ship or Zodiacs aren’t able to land firmly ashore. In this case, you will have to step off the Zodiac into water — usually no higher than the knee — when landing. When you have a wet landing, it is best to wear waterproof sandals or boots (climate depending) and bring a change of footwear for the excursion. Your expedition team will always announce the type of landing ahead of time so you can properly prepare.
Is there a swimming pool or sauna on board?
Each ship is different but many feature either a pool or a sauna, sometimes even both. Ships that spend most their time in the colder regions of the world have either a heated pool or a sauna.
Is Wi-Fi available? How much does it cost?
Most ships these days offer Wi-Fi, though the reliability is still unpredictable. Satellite Internet has improved drastically over the years but the connection is not going to be as reliable as it is on land. Ships that offer Wi-Fi often limit the bandwidth available — ideal for a quick email or check-in, but not suited for browsing the web or uploading photos. For more information about the Wi-Fi policy, please check your program materials or directly with the cruise line.
What equipment is available on board? Is there equipment for rent?
Expedition ships are well equipped for immersive excursions, supplying equipment including kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel equipment sometimes at an additional charge. For swimming excursions in cold waters, many ships have wet suits that are available to guests
For apparel, expedition cruise lines typically supply passengers with a waterproof, insulated parka and boots to be worn during land excursions but please check your program materials. These waterproof boots are especially helpful for wet landings. Apparel is not usually available to rent while on board, though there are onboard shops that sell adventure gear recommended by the cruise line. While the gear will be high quality and reputable brands, it is far more efficient to plan ahead using your program materials and apparel recommendations on the cruise lines website.
Can I pay with cash and credit card on board?
Expedition ships will accept cash and credit cards while on board, requiring bills to be settled at the end of the cruise. The currency accepted on board varies by cruise line; most cruise lines operating in Europe use Euros while ships in North America use U.S. dollars. Some may offer services converting currencies. It is always a good idea to carry small bills in the local currency for when you are in port; there may be a minimum purchase amount required to use your credit card. On Antarctic expeditions, the onboard currency depends on the country of the cruise line.
Are there any special amenities on board?
Part of the thrill of an expedition cruise is the central focus of understanding the destination, its ecosystem and its people. Ships are equipped with tools and personnel to make the most of these conditions. While amenities vary from ship to ship, they could include underwater cameras, hydrophones, bow cams, expedition landing crafts, Zodiacs, snorkeling equipment and computer docking stations to manage the photos taken over the course of your adventure.
What about my fellow Passengers?
The thrill of an expedition is made better by the people with whom you get to share your journey with. Even better, these people are equally adventurous and share your thirst for knowledge that will take them to the end of the world. But expedition cruises are staffed with experts in their field — historians, anthropologists, biologists, geologists, photographers and more — who are on board to offer their insight into the spectacular environments and the creatures that call it home. When you’re on an expedition cruise there will be opportunities for access to these onboard experts.
What can I expect on a crusie?
The expedition is all about the adventure. A rough itinerary sets the expectation but you never know what surprises await you in the upcoming days. You’ve come on board to experience the natural world at its finest and Mother Nature is unpredictable. Passengers may spot a pod of whales feeding in the distance so the captain will navigate closer to these beautiful creatures to see them participate in the circle of life. The purpose of the expedition is to experience the world around you in its most pristine and having trust in your expedition team will never disappoint.
What to wear on a cruise?
You won’t find fancy cocktail hours or much need for formal attire while in the midst of your expedition. During the day, guests dress comfortably for the destination, whether layering up with a parka in the Antarctic or a swimsuit and flip flops among the islands of the Galápagos or the Baja Peninsula. When it comes time for dinner or shipboard activities, don’t fret, any outfit you would wear on an average meal out will be perfect. Instead of packing nicer attire, focus on simple, practical layers that are comfortable and can be easily layered for a variety of weather conditions.
Are expedition ships different than regular ships?
When you come on board an expedition cruise, prepare to feel as if you have stepped into one continuous immersive excursion. Instead of the traditional amenities like top-tier entertainment and a plethora of dining options, there are expert scientists and culturalists on board to enhance the overall experience. These ships are equipped with expedition equipment that could include Zodiacs, wetsuits, kayaks and scientific tools to help explore and learn about the destination. While sailing, spend your downtime with your fellow passengers embracing a new and exciting sense of community. Instead of spending your leisure time enjoying a multitude of onboard amenities, gain a new appreciation for the world around you at expert-led lectures and reflect on your new experiences over some delicious food.
Is there wifi on crusies?
The Internet has become a key part of our lives as the world has become more connected, and cruise ships are no exception. As technology advances, onboard satellite Internet has become more reliable through both Internet lounges and Wi-Fi, but will still lag behind the broadband you enjoy in your homes. Many cruise lines offer package deals that support checking email and browsing the web. While it may be impossible to resist sharing pictures of these remarkable destinations, the Wi-Fi will often only be fast enough to upload a few pictures at a time. In more remote locations around the world, a Wi-Fi connection may not be possible at all. So instead, use this cruise as an opportunity to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings.