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Expedition Cruise Diary

Stowaway Medias exclusive Expedition Cruise Diary

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ARCTIC<br />

WHO GOES THERE<br />

GALAPAGOS<br />

SELLING TIPS<br />

• <strong>Cruise</strong>s depart in the summer months,<br />

when the ice has melted enough for<br />

ships to navigate around Spitsbergen.<br />

• Look out for cruise lines that offer<br />

kayaking from the ship – it’s great fun<br />

to paddle through the small icebergs,<br />

known as growlers.<br />

• Seals, whales, polar bears and the story<br />

of the ill-fated Franklin <strong>Expedition</strong> are<br />

among highlights for those cruising the<br />

Northwest Passage.<br />

• Put the price of a once-in-a-lifetime<br />

adventure against the actual cost of<br />

the cruise to show what value your<br />

clients are getting.<br />

Silversea <strong>Expedition</strong>s<br />

Ship: Silver Cloud - 16,800 tons, 240 passengers; Silver Explorer - 6,072 tons, 144<br />

passengers.<br />

Itineraries: Nine to 14-day cruises pair Spitsbergen with Tromso in Norway and/<br />

or Iceland, while 16-day Greenland voyages sail round-trip from Kangerlussuaq. A<br />

sold-out Northeast Passage cruise in August 2019 will be repeated in 2020.<br />

Sample: From £6,210 per person for a nine-day voyage from Longyearbyen in<br />

Spitsbergen to Tromso in Norway departing June 21 2020. Excludes flights<br />

Scenic<br />

Ships: Scenic Eclipse (launching August 2019) – 17,085 tons, 228 passengers<br />

(200 in polar regions).<br />

Itineraries: Voyages of between 11 and 24 nights explore the islands of<br />

Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland. A 24-night voyage from Copenhagen in<br />

Denmark to Nome in Alaska crosses the Northwest Passage.<br />

Sample: From £11,695 per person for a 15-day Arctic Islands cruise from Oslo in<br />

Norway to Reykjavik in Iceland departing July 12 2020. Includes flights.<br />

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

Ships: Hanseatic Inspiration (launching October 2019) – 15,650 tons, 230<br />

passengers.<br />

Itineraries: <strong>Cruise</strong>s ranging from 13 to 20 days take passengers through the<br />

Canadian Arctic, Baffin Bay and along the west coast of Greenland.<br />

Sample: From £12,075 per person for a 17-day Greenland expedition round-trip<br />

from Kangerlussuaq departing August 21 2020. Excludes flights.<br />

G Adventures<br />

Ship: G <strong>Expedition</strong> – 6,334 tons, 134 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: Three eight to 15-day itineraries either circumnavigate Spitsbergen<br />

from Longyearbyen or focus on its west coast. A 15-night cruise in September<br />

2019 pairs Spitsbergen with Greenland and Iceland.<br />

Sample: From £4,349 per person for an eight-day Realm of the Polar Bear cruise<br />

round-trip from Longyearbyen departing July 24 2019. Excludes flights.<br />

DISCOVER:<br />

THE GALAPAGOS<br />

Crystal <strong>Cruise</strong>s<br />

Ship: Crystal Endeavor – 20,000 tons, 200 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: A 28-day voyage through the Northeast Passage links Anadyr in<br />

Russia with Tromso in Norway.<br />

Sample: From £36,731 per person for 28 days departing August 17 2021.<br />

Excludes flights.<br />

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

Ship: Polar Pioneer – 1,753 tons, 54 passengers; Greg Mortimer (launching<br />

November 2019) – 7,400 tons, 160 passengers (limited to 120 in polar regions).<br />

Itineraries: Voyages range from 11 to 25 days and explore Svalbard, Greenland<br />

and Franz Josef Land. A 25-day Arctic Complete voyage in August 2021 ticks off<br />

Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland.<br />

Sample: From £4,800 per person for an 11-day Iceland, Jan Mayen and<br />

Svalbard voyage from Reykjavik to Longyearbyen departing June 12 2020.<br />

Excludes flights.<br />

Ponant<br />

Ships: Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal – 10,944 tons, 264 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: A range of seven to 16-night cruises in 2020 explore Greenland and<br />

Spitsbergen. A 22-night voyage in August 2020 takes passengers through the<br />

Northwest Passage from Kangerlussuaq to Nome in Alaska.<br />

Sample: From €6,580 per person for a seven-night Disco Bay and Inuit Villages<br />

cruise round-trip from Kangerlussuaq departing July 19 2020. Excludes flights.<br />

WHAT TO PACK<br />

• Walking shoes and waterproof trousers<br />

• Warm jumpers, woolly hats, scarves and gloves<br />

• A rain and wind-proof coat<br />

• Cameras, iPhones, chargers and plenty of storage space for pictures<br />

Cruising the Galapagos Islands<br />

is one of the most amazing<br />

experiences imaginable – a way to<br />

combine a sea adventure with closeup<br />

encounters with some of the<br />

tamest and most fascinating wildlife<br />

on the planet.<br />

The islands, part of Ecuador but some 600 miles<br />

off the coast of South America, shot to fame in<br />

the 1850s, when Charles Darwin published his<br />

book The Origin of Species based on theories he<br />

developed on a visit to the Galapagos in 1835.<br />

He was on a five-year expedition to chart the<br />

southern half of South America’s coastline and<br />

went ashore hoping to find volcanoes. Instead he<br />

observed animals and birds that had adapted to<br />

the different island environments in which they<br />

lived. There were lizards that swam, cormorants<br />

that could not fly, finches with beaks that had<br />

evolved into different shapes depending whether<br />

their main food stuffs were fruits, seeds or insects,<br />

and giant tortoises with shells shaped to suit the<br />

vegetation they had to eat.<br />

Some 25,000 people live in the islands, attracted<br />

there by tourism, which is creeping up even though<br />

it is supposed to be limited to help preserve the<br />

fragile ecosystem.<br />

Many stay in hotels, and that is one way to visit<br />

the Galapagos, taking boat trips out to different<br />

islands each day. But a cruise that visits a couple of<br />

islands, beaches or bays every day is not only a far<br />

easier way to travel as you just get on board and<br />

unpack once, but far more rewarding.<br />

Ships of all sizes and quality sail around the<br />

archipelago, from small yachts to luxury craft,<br />

but none is allowed to hold more than 100<br />

passengers. Most will visit two islands a day<br />

during a seven-night cruise, each time taking folk<br />

ashore in small tenders or inflatable Zodiacs to<br />

see the wonderful wildlife (think dancing booby<br />

birds, playful sea lions and rather stately giant<br />

tortoises) which has no predators and therefore<br />

no fear of humans.<br />

Some days there might instead be a Zodiac<br />

cruise around a bay teeming with wildlife. Several<br />

times there will be a chance to swim or snorkel with<br />

the animals. Scuba diving can also be arranged but<br />

at an extra cost.<br />

There are several rules to know before a first trip<br />

ashore. Visitors can only set foot on the islands<br />

with a guide (all ships carry teams of Ecuadorian<br />

guides who have an intimate knowledge of the<br />

islands’ flora and fauna and are registered by the<br />

Galapagos National Park). Puerto Ayora in Santa<br />

Cruz is an exception. This is the biggest town in<br />

the islands and passengers are free to explore the<br />

souvenir shops after a trip to the Charles Darwin<br />

Research Centre.<br />

Visitors must also keep a distance from the<br />

animals, certainly never try to touch them,<br />

and move carefully and quietly so as not to<br />

scare them (on some landings they will find<br />

themselves tip-toeing over marine iguanas).<br />

Those who go snorkelling are not to touch plants<br />

or animals in the water. »<br />

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

Stowaway Media | 35

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