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Why expedition cruising is different from traditional cruises and why you should try it

You may heard the term Expedition cruising. "A cruise you say? Been there, done that".

Or have you?

Expedition cruising is a specialised form of cruising that focuses on exploring remote and off-the-beaten-path destinations with an emphasis on adventure, education, and immersive experiences. Unlike traditional cruising, which often centres around leisure and entertainment on board, expedition cruising is more about the journey itself and the exploration of unique and often challenging environments.

Here are some key differences between expedition and traditional cruising:

Destination immersion on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions

Destination Focus:

Expedition Cruising: The primary focus is on visiting destinations that are often remote, less accessible, and rich in natural or cultural wonders. Expeditions may include destinations like polar regions, the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon rainforest, or other less-travelled corners of the globe.

Traditional Cruising: Typically emphasises well-known tourist destinations and major ports of call. The focus is on a mix of onboard entertainment, dining, and visits to popular tourist attractions.

Small ship on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions

Small Ship Experience:

Expedition Cruising: Utilises smaller, more agile ships that can navigate through narrow channels and reach destinations inaccessible to larger vessels. This allows for a more intimate and personalised experience.

Traditional Cruising: Often involves larger cruise ships - think 5000 of your closest friends at the pool - with more amenities like restaurants, theaters, casinos- and a focus on onboard entertainment. These ships may not be able to access smaller or more remote ports and at times are banned from destinations.

Enrichment program on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions

Educational and Enrichment Programs:

Expedition Cruising: Provides educational opportunities with expert naturalists, marine biologists, historians, and other specialists on board. Guests can participate in lectures, workshops, and guided excursions to enhance their understanding of the destinations.

Traditional Cruising: While some traditional cruises may offer enrichment programs, the emphasis is typically on entertainment and leisure activities rather than educational experiences.

Polar bears in Svalbard on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions

Flexibility in Itinerary:

Expedition Cruising: Itineraries are often flexible and subject to change based on weather conditions, wildlife sightings, or unexpected opportunities. This adaptability allows for a more spontaneous and immersive experience. In Antarctica we may cruise along with a pod of whales while in the Arctic we may slow down when we see polar bears.

Traditional Cruising: Itineraries are usually fixed, with a predetermined schedule of port visits and activities. Popular ports of call are in well-established tourist destination. Time away from the ship often involves spending time in port cities for shopping, sightseeing, and organized tours. Changes are less common and are typically related to unforeseen circumstances.

kaking on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions

Adventure Activities:

Expedition Cruising: Offers a range of adventure activities such as kayaking, hiking, snorkelling, and Zodiac excursions, allowing passengers to actively engage with the natural surroundings. Activities are geared to the destination and there is always something to do for every fitness level.

Traditional Cruising: While some traditional cruises may offer shore excursions, the emphasis is often on more relaxed and mainstream activities like sightseeing tours, shopping, and cultural experiences. Onboard activities take center stage, with options like swimming pools, rock climbing walls, shows, and nightlife.

In summary

In summary, expedition cruising provides a more immersive, educational, and adventurous experience, catering to travellers seeking exploration and discovery in remote and unique destinations. Traditional cruising, on the other hand, tends to focus on a broader range of destinations and onboard amenities, providing a more traditional vacation resort-style experience.

Ready to take a close look at Expedition cruising?

Learn about Lindblad Expeditions, the world's original Expedition Cruise Company here. To see some of the many destinations we offer, visit this page!

Alone with penguins in South Georgia on an expedition cruise with Lindblad Expeditions


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