Expedition offerings are set to expand greatly with the arrival of dozens of new and innovative vessels in the coming few years. In fact, there are more than 40 new ships in the planning phases or nearing completion.
In Miami, at the annual Seatrade convention, cruise lines unveiled plans for a few new expedition ships and offered more details on their previously announced vessels that will hit the waters in the near future.
We think these new expedition ships will offer unique experiences that cruisers will be excited to try.
One of the ships that we are most looking forward to is Seabourn Venture, an ultra-luxury beauty that will sail in style to some of the most sought-after regions of the world. This 264-passenger ship will have a variety of spaces that passengers will love to call home when back onboard after their exploration ashore.
The Expedition Lounge, Discovery Center and Landing Zone are new spaces for Seabourn that will aim to create a rugged feel. This would deliver a sense of awe and adventure in the design, alongside an environment of exceptional, intuitive service, Seabourn says. The new spaces will capture the romanticism of early explorers and the thrill of discovery -- with thoughtful details and materials that are very tactile and give you the sense of ruggedness that comes with expedition travel while maintaining pristine luxury and comfort.
Designer Adam D. Tihany is also creating all indoor and outdoor areas on Seabourn Venture and a second to-be-named sister ship that is scheduled to set sail in May 2022.
âWhen you conjure up images of the ideal adventure trip, you would head out into the stunning wilderness for the day knowing that when you return a cozy, welcoming space filled with luxurious materials like leathers and rich woods that invites relaxation and conversation awaits you," says Richard Meadows, Seabourn's president. "Each of these newly designed spaces hits that note perfectly, leaving our guests wanting for nothing and giving them an inviting place to talk to fellow travelers each day about the incredible experiences they had."
Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021 and offer 24 zodiacs, e-bikes, two submarines, a 26-person expedition team, open bridge, 2,750 square meters of open deck space and 132 balcony staterooms for up to 264 travelers.
"You're roughing it in style," Tihany says of the look and feel of an expedition aboard the new ships.
Silversea has a luxury expedition ship built specifically for the Galapagos. Silver Origin is set to launch in summer 2020. Silversea says the 100-passenger, all-inclusive, all-suite ship will be one of the most environmentally friendly ships on the waters.
The expedition team, all certified by the National Park of the Galapagos, will lead an immersive program highlighting Ecuadorian culture and cuisine, as well as providing detailed information about this most fascinating destination via lectures, daily briefings, videos and scientific information.
The cruise line currently sails the Galapagos with Silver Galapagos, which will be replaced by the new Silver Origin. The new ship will offer luxurious spaces such as the Explorer Lounge, Observation Lounge and Basecamp, an innovative space that will be home to the educational experiences and connects to the zodiac launch area. The ship also features two dining venues, The Grill and The Restaurant.
This new luxury ship from Mystic Cruises launched in March 2019 and is operated by German line Nicko Cruises and Quark Expeditions.
Mystic Cruises is a new expedition cruise company, offering programs in captivating destinations, including Antarctica, Europe, Iceland and Greenland. The company says it is focused on offering unique experiences in an eco-friendly way, with all the comfort of a five-star cruise ship. Nicko Cruises is sailing World Explorer's inaugural, summer 2019 season, and Quark Expeditions has chartered the ship for Antarctica voyages in winter 2019-20.
North American cruisers will be able to get on the ship via the Quark Expeditions charter. After a second charter ship, World Voyager, launches in 2020, Mystic Cruises plans to debut the first of four Mystic Cruises USA ships beginning in 2021.
These 200-passenger vessels will be focused on cruisers coming from North America. Each cabin has either a private walk-out or small balcony, as well as plenty of public areas to gather with fellow passengers after a day outdoors. The glass-domed Observation Lounge offers full skyline views, and the ships also feature an Explorer Lounge with a bar, a library for more intimate relaxing and reading and a dedicated lecture theater for enrichment talks and presentations.
The ship also offers health and wellness facilities, such as an outdoor running track, a small gym and a sauna, plus a spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. For more active adventurers, add-ons include kayaking, camping and stand-up paddleboarding.
Scenic Cruises bills this new ship as the world's first discovery yacht. The 228-passenger ship will sail voyages in the Americas, Antarctica, Europe, the Med, the Arctic and fjords in Chile and Norway. Scenic Eclipse is due to set sail in August 2019 and promises "six star luxury" while passengers explore exotic regions.
The ship offers nine restaurants, eight lounges and bars, outdoor terraces, spa, pools, hot tubs, a movie theater and your own private verandah suite. Passengers will launch their adventures from a marine deck or hop in a helicopter or submarine that is carried on the ship.
The French cruise line had launched its first two new luxury expedition ships by 2018, Le Laperouse and Le Champlain, and an ambitious schedule will see six in the fleet of 184-passenger ships by 2020. The ships will sail all over the world. I enjoyed a cruise on the ship with its Backroads adventure travel partner, and we had an amazing active voyage in New Zealand.
These ships have the innovative Blue Eye underwater lounge where you can experience the sights and sounds under the surface through a speaker system and two large portholes. They also feature zodiacs a marina, pool, sauna and a luxurious Observatory Lounge (a bar area with indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for comfortable observation of the scenic areas where you cruise).
It's not only the brand-new ships that make expedition cruising a hot topic, but also new itineraries that visit special places. Cruise and Maritime Voyages announced a new soft-expedition itinerary sailing roundtrip from Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point, on its 550-passenger ship Astoria.
This is a good way to explore the Sea of Cortez on a 12-day soft expedition cruise program that is part of CMV's new "Voyages of Exploration" collection. Astoria sails from Puerto Penasco to distinctive ports of call in Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur, including Puerto Topolobampo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Santa Rosalia and Guaymas.
"This is an exciting project that we have been very much looking forward to announcing together with the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Sonora . . . the first opportunity to cruise from Puerto Penasco -- Rocky Point," said John Dennis, vice president of sales and Marketing for CMV USA. "Our new Treasures of the Sea of Cortez voyage takes travelers to discover some of the best kept secret destinations of Mexico."
Born in an era marked by volcanic eruptions and ongoing earthquakes more than 5 million years ago, the Sea of Cortez features natural wonders, amazing wildlife and spectacular islands. In fact, the Sea of Cortez is the richest body of water on planet, featuring many islands designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The region offers an impressive array of marine mammals, more than 900 species of fish and plentiful birdlife. It was a voyage here that inspired John Steinbeck to write a book about his expedition, and it's the body of water famously described as a "living aquarium" by Jacques Cousteau.
Viking Expedition Cruises
The fast-growing cruise line that made river cruising so well-known and popular, came to the oceans in 2015 and wowed passengers with amazing voyages onboard its sleek 930-passenger kid-free and amenity-inclusive ships. Now, Viking is delving into the fast-growing expedition segment with plans for two expeditions ships that are expected to debut in 2021 and 2022.
At this point, little is known about the details of the ships, but the Viking track record suggests that they will be worth keeping an eye out for as details emerge.
Which cruise ships are you most excited for?
Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading,