Everything You Need to Know About Expedition Cruising and the Newest Ships

by Donna Heiderstadt

Everything You Need to Know About Expedition Cruising and the Newest Ships

by Donna Heiderstadt

Earth’s extremes – from polar regions to remote islands to lush rainforests – are now easily experienced aboard sleek-but-high-tech vessels offering bucket-list itineraries. Here’s everything you need to know about expedition cruising and the newest ships.

Earth’s extremes – from polar regions to remote islands to lush rainforests – are now easily experienced aboard sleek-but-high-tech vessels offering bucket-list itineraries. Here’s everything you need to know about expedition cruising and the newest ships.

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Northern Lights in Iceland / Courtesy of Visit Iceland
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Seabourn Venture

Luxury small-ship line Seabourn’s first foray into expedition cruising is 264-passenger Seabourn Venture, scheduled for a December 2021 debut. With interiors by renowned designer Adam D. Tihany and eight onboard restaurants, Venture will embrace the line’s typical indulgences – but also boast PC6 polar-rated specifications and two bespoke submarines for underwater excursions.

Luxury small-ship line Seabourn’s first foray into expedition cruising is 264-passenger Seabourn Venture, scheduled for a December 2021 debut. With interiors by renowned designer Adam D. Tihany and eight onboard restaurants, Venture will embrace the line’s typical indulgences – but also boast PC6 polar-rated specifications and two bespoke submarines for underwater excursions.

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Quark Expeditions

Quark Expeditions offers one-of-a-kind Arctic and Antarctica sailings. Consider booking a stateroom aboard the company's newest ship, the 140-passenger Ultramarine. This innovative vessel is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, zodiacs, several gourmet restaurants, a sauna complete with floor-to-ceiling views, and much more.

Quark Expeditions offers one-of-a-kind Arctic and Antarctica sailings. Consider booking a stateroom aboard the company's newest ship, the 140-passenger Ultramarine. This innovative vessel is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, zodiacs, several gourmet restaurants, a sauna complete with floor-to-ceiling views, and much more.

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Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen

MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten’s newest ship, adds some high gloss to the high seas. The 530-passenger vessel, named after the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole, is chock-full of luxe amenities, including three elegant eateries and an inviting deck complete with a sparkling infinity pool. It was also specifically built for polar expeditions, and its ice-class rating enables it to cruise into remote locales that other small ships may not be able to access.

MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten’s newest ship, adds some high gloss to the high seas. The 530-passenger vessel, named after the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole, is chock-full of luxe amenities, including three elegant eateries and an inviting deck complete with a sparkling infinity pool. It was also specifically built for polar expeditions, and its ice-class rating enables it to cruise into remote locales that other small ships may not be able to access.

Viking Expedition Rendering
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Viking Octantis & Viking Polaris

Viking, which began with river cruising and expanded into ocean cruising, will debut its first expedition ship, 378-passenger Viking Octantis in early 2022, and its second, Viking Polaris, in summer 2022. Both are PC6-rated to explore Arctic and Antarctic waters and will feature Viking’s signature Scandinavian design along with a science lab, Zodiacs, and two submarines for underwater exploration.

Viking, which began with river cruising and expanded into ocean cruising, will debut its first expedition ship, 378-passenger Viking Octantis in early 2022, and its second, Viking Polaris, in summer 2022. Both are PC6-rated to explore Arctic and Antarctic waters and will feature Viking’s signature Scandinavian design along with a science lab, Zodiacs, and two submarines for underwater exploration.

Silver Explorer in the Arctic
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Silversea Expeditions

Silversea has been expanding its Silversea Expeditions offerings on both its purpose-built ships – 144-passenger Silver Explorer and 100-passenger Silver Origin – as well as 264-guest, ice-rated Silver Cloud. All three feature the elegant décor, exceptional cuisine, and five-star service for which Silversea is known – along with expert-guided excursions in some the world’s most fascinating places.

Silversea has been expanding its Silversea Expeditions offerings on both its purpose-built ships – 144-passenger Silver Explorer 100-passenger Silver Origin – as well as 264-guest, ice-rated Silver Cloud. All three feature the elegant décor, exceptional cuisine, and five-star service for which Silversea is known – along with expert-guided excursions in some the world’s most fascinating places.

Scenic Eclipse
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Scenic Eclipse

Scenic Eclipse, the first “discovery yacht” by river cruise operator Scenic, made a splash when it debuted in 2019 with its two very cool expedition accessories: a helicopter and a submarine (called Scenic Neptune). The 228-passenger vessel also features 10 dining options, eight bars and lounges, and an onboard stash of Zodiacs, kayaks and e-bikes.

Scenic Eclipse, the first “discovery yacht” by river cruise operator Scenic, made a splash when it debuted in 2019 with its two very cool expedition accessories: a helicopter and a submarine (called Scenic Neptune). The 228-passenger vessel also features 10 dining options, eight bars and lounges, and an onboard stash of Zodiacs, kayaks and e-bikes.

World Navigator
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Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator

World Navigator, the first of five Explorer-Class ships being built by Atlas Ocean Voyages, merges the adventure-focused itineraries of a polar-class vessel with the simple elegance and pampering of a 196-passenger luxury ship. Sibling ships World Traveller, World Seeker, World Adventurer, and World Discoverer will launch within the next few years.

World Navigator, the first of five Explorer-Class ships being built by Atlas Ocean Voyages, merges the adventure-focused itineraries of a polar-class vessel with the simple elegance and pampering of a 196-passenger luxury ship. Sibling ships World Traveller, World Seeker, World Adventurer, and World Discoverer will launch within the next few years.

Le Commandant Charcot
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Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot

France-based Ponant added the 270-passenger Le Commandant Charcot in 2021, with Arctic cruises in summer and Patagonia/Antarctica itineraries in autumn and winter. The PC2-rated is a hybrid electric power vessel powered by LNG and has plenty of plush features: contemporary European-inspired décor, an indoor pool and spa, and two restaurants.

France-based Ponant added the 270-passenger Le Commandant Charcot in 2021, with Arctic cruises in summer and Patagonia/Antarctica itineraries in autumn and winter. The PC2-rated is a hybrid electric power vessel powered by LNG and has plenty of plush features: contemporary European-inspired décor, an indoor pool and spa, and two restaurants.

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