Luxury Comes to Expedition Cruising

Demand for expedition cruising is attracting both new lines, including Norwegian Yacht Voyages, which is expected to unveil a 222-guest ship in 2022, and line expansions, such as two new 264-passenger polar-class ships from Seabourn, each carrying submarines as well as kayaks, expected in 2021 and 2022. Silversea plans to introduce its 100-passenger Silver Origin in the Galápagos in 2020.

Known for its river ships, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours plans to send out its first ocean ship, the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, in early 2019, visiting places like Panama and Colombia (10 days from $9,295) and Alaska (13 days from $6,645), and carrying a six-passenger submarine and two helicopters.

Smaller ships make it possible to pull into smaller or shallower ports, such as the French Iles des Saintes in the Caribbean, and many expedition ships, such as the new Lindblad ship, are built to navigate polar ice.

Not all expedition cruises visit extreme destinations. Sometimes they go culturally deeper. Since 2010 the luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent has been chartering Ponant ships to offer expedition cruises in places such as Japan and Antarctica by reserving entire ships and bringing in its own experts and guides.

In 2018, the company began expedition cruises in Greece, and in 2019 it will add Italy, following the coast from Livorno on the Mediterranean south around the boot and back up to Venice (13-day trips from $11,995 a person), as well as the remote Kimberley region of Australia (13-days from $15,495 a person).

“These new expedition cruises will attract a more adventurous person who may not be looking for a cruise but now sees this as an easy way to get to outer islands or parts of Japan without flying around a lot,” Ms. Rappoport said.

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