Expedition Cruise Diary

Stowaway Medias exclusive Expedition Cruise Diary

Stowaway Medias exclusive Expedition Cruise Diary


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• Wellington boots and waterproof trousers are a must for<br />

Antarctica as you invariably have to step into the sea to get from<br />

the landing craft to the beach. Most cruise lines have boots for<br />

hire, either for free or a small charge.<br />

• <strong>Cruise</strong> ships might be in Antarctica in summer but it is still very<br />

cold so passengers will also need warm jumpers, woolly hats,<br />

scarves and gloves.<br />

• The Arctic isn’t as chilly but it is still cold so warm clothes are<br />

needed, as well as stout walking shoes and waterproof trousers for<br />

trips ashore.<br />

• Most cruise lines provide complimentary parkas for passengers<br />

sailing in the polar regions.<br />


The Mergui (pronounced mer-gwee) Archipelago is a scattering of<br />

800 islands, many of them deserted, covered in dense rainforest and<br />

ringed by sandy beaches, off the southern coast of Myanmar in the<br />

Andaman Sea. Pandaw alone has seven and 10-night cruises here, on<br />

the 24-passenger Andaman Explorer. Clients can expect to see monkeys<br />

and tropical birds ashore, and whales and dolphins at sea. Pandaw’s<br />

itinerary visits the nomadic Mokken people who live on the sea and<br />

make a living catching fish and pearl diving.<br />


• These areas are tropical so light clothing, hats and sunscreen are<br />

needed. Waterproof sandals are useful for wading ashore from<br />

the Zodiacs.<br />

WHERE TO GO?<br />

Antarctica is top of the list for adventure cruises. It’s a long way to travel<br />

but visitors are rewarded with icebergs the size of houses, hundreds of<br />

whales and millions of penguins. And of course they’ll have the privilege of<br />

being among the few people who ever get the chance to set foot on the<br />

most inhospitable continent in the world.<br />

Once Antarctica is done, it’s time to swap penguins for polar bears<br />

on a cruise to the Arctic. There’s lots of choice here, with cruises around<br />

Spitsbergen, the nearest most vessels can get to the North Pole, and<br />

voyages along the coast of Greenland and through the Northwest Passage,<br />

the icy waterway between Greenland and Canada. A new must-do<br />

itinerary, the Northeast Passage, takes passengers across the top of Russia<br />

on a journey from Alaska to Norway.<br />

Those who prefer warmer climes can get close to wildlife in the<br />

Galapagos, where the animals have no fear of humans, and see gushing<br />

waterfalls, coral reefs and crocodiles in the Kimberley.<br />

There are tropical birds, piranha fish and jungle to explore on cruises<br />

along the Amazon River in Brazil. On cruises through the Mergui<br />

Archipelago off the west coast of Myanmar, passengers enter the realm of<br />

the sea gypsies, with kayaking through mangroves and swimming in the<br />

Andaman Sea.<br />

Travellers on all these cruises need an adventurous spirit as itineraries<br />

are often more like guidelines, especially in the polar regions. Captains will<br />

aim to visit all the places on the schedule but the actual route depends on<br />

weather and wildlife. Wind, ice and fog will scupper landings in Antarctica;<br />

in the Arctic, a prowling polar bear will halt plans for a walk ashore.<br />


✔ Perfect for those with a sense of adventure keen to see places away from the tourist haunts.<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

More than 13 new<br />

expedition ships are slated to<br />

launch this year and next.<br />

Aurora <strong>Expedition</strong>s, Scenic,<br />

Crystal <strong>Cruise</strong>s, Hapag-Lloyd<br />

and Hurtigruten are all<br />

building expedition ships<br />

with ice-strengthened hulls<br />

that can sail in polar regions.<br />

Details can be found in the Antarctica and Arctic pages.<br />

All offer levels of luxury previously unheard of on expedition ships but<br />

Scenic and Crystal are going beyond lavish with yachts that offer butler<br />

service for all and have helicopters and submarines to whisk passengers off<br />

on adventures above and below the ocean.<br />

Seabourn is launching its first-ever expedition vessels. Built to PC6<br />

Polar Class standards, they will accommodate 264 passengers and carry<br />

a 26-strong expedition team, two submarines, kayaks and Zodiacs. The<br />

first ship, launching June 2021, will sail a short season in the Arctic before<br />

relocating to Antarctica. The second vessel will be delivered May 2022.<br />

French cruise line Ponant launched two warm-water explorer vessels in<br />

2018 and has another four on the way. Le Bougainville and Le Dumontd’Urville<br />

enter service in April and August this year, with Le Bellot and Le<br />

Jacques Cartier following in 2020. All accommodate 184 passengers and<br />

have a Blue Eye lounge in the hull from which passengers can peek out<br />

into the ocean.<br />

✔ Ideal for those who have cruised the Med, Caribbean and Baltic and want to do something different but not miss out on a few weeks at sea.<br />

✔ A ball for baby boomers who missed out on a gap year and fancy some soft adventure without having to rough it.<br />

✔ Spot on for those interested in seeing and learning about wildlife, nature and the environment.<br />

✔ Brilliant for teenagers who do not need constant entertaining. It’s not a cheap holiday, but an experience they will never forget.<br />

✖ The new generation of expedition ships might be more suitable for disabled passengers than the older vessels still in operation but getting<br />

ashore will always be a problem. Ask the cruise line for advice before booking.<br />


The Amazon rises in the Andes<br />

Mountains and flows 4,000 miles<br />

through nine countries in South<br />

America before emptying into the<br />

Atlantic. The river is so big that<br />

ocean-going ships can sail nearly<br />

650 miles upriver from the Atlantic<br />

to Manaus, taking passengers on a<br />

real getaway-from-it-all adventure.<br />

They’ll trek through jungle that’s<br />

home to sloths, howler monkeys and<br />

colourful parrots, meet indigenous<br />

people, maybe kayak along narrow<br />

tributaries, and see piranha fish and<br />

caiman (like an alligator) up close.<br />

10 | <strong>Expedition</strong> <strong>Cruise</strong> <strong>Diary</strong> | March 2019<br />

Stowaway Media | 11

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