Cruising has long been a favorite mode of travel. But as travelers focus more on where they are going, less on how they're getting there, a new breed of traveler is finding that smaller ships with fewer passengers, more active excursions that focus on nature, and environmentally friendly practices are the experience they’re really after. Welcome to expedition cruises. Wondering what they are and how they differ from an ocean cruise or a river cruise?
The presence of fewer passengers also means the opportunity for more activities. Most expedition cruise lines can accommodate two different landings a day, so people are spending more time off the ship and in the environment. (If you have 4,000 passengers, it takes additional time and manpower to organize everyone and get them off the ship.) The smaller passenger size makes for a more intimate vibe on the ship, too: you generally form close relationships with people on expedition ships, because you’re with the same ones each day.
Another big part of expedition cruising is the focus on education on the ship. While luxury may be a component for some expedition lines, broadly speaking, lounging by the pool with a drink in hand comes second to lectures from guest scientists, naturalists, and historians. Travelers on expedition cruise ships want to know about the nature and history of where they’re going, and the ships also offer easy access to get outside for wildlife viewing.