Recently, our Travel Business University Travel Tech Mentor Carol McKee returned from an extraordinary expedition cruise aboard Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Resolution, a GTN preferred partner. Her journey with Lindblad, a pioneer and leader in expedition travel, was nothing short of exceptional. Having experienced six different expeditions with various companies, she was particularly impressed by the unique touches, deep community connections, and unmatched expertise of the guides and crew on this voyage. If you're curious about what makes this type of travel special, here are some answers to common questions to help you understand why an expedition cruise might be your next great adventure.

Pictured Above: GTN's Travel Tech Mentor Carol McKee, and her husband on their most recent expedition cruise with Lindblad!

What Exactly Is an Expedition Cruise?

An expedition cruise is a voyage that takes travelers to remote, often less-accessible locations, focusing on immersive experiences and close-up encounters with nature and wildlife. Unlike traditional cruises, expedition cruises emphasize exploration and discovery, offering opportunities for adventure, education, and personal enrichment.

How Does an Expedition Cruise Differ from a Traditional Cruise?

While traditional cruises typically follow a set itinerary with a focus on leisure and entertainment, expedition cruises prioritize off-the-beaten-path destinations and active, educational experiences. Expedition cruises often feature smaller ships, which allows them to navigate more challenging waters and access areas larger ships cannot. The emphasis is on wildlife viewing, cultural interactions, and outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling.

What Kind of Accommodations and Amenities Can I Expect on a Luxury Expedition Cruise?

Luxury expedition cruises combine the thrill of exploration with high-end comfort. Onboard amenities often include spacious cabins or suites with modern furnishings, gourmet dining, wellness centers, and sometimes even spas. Despite the focus on adventure, these cruises ensure that guests enjoy a comfortable and luxurious environment when they're not out exploring.

Pictured Above: GTN's CEO Jen Cochrane (second from right) in Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions.

What Types of Activities and Excursions Are Available on Expedition Cruises?

Expedition cruises offer a variety of activities designed to immerse travelers in their surroundings. Common excursions include guided hikes, wildlife watching, snorkeling or diving, kayaking, and cultural visits to local communities. Onboard, guests can attend lectures and workshops led by experts in fields such as marine biology, history, and photography, enhancing the educational aspect of the journey.

How Physically Demanding Are Expedition Cruises?

The physical demands of an expedition cruise can vary. Many activities, such as hikes and kayaking, require a moderate level of fitness. However, these cruises typically offer a range of excursions suitable for different fitness levels, and guests can choose how active they want to be. It's important to review the itinerary and consult with the cruise provider to understand the physical requirements of specific trips.

What is the Best Time of Year to Go on an Expedition Cruise?

The best time to go on an expedition cruise depends on the destination. For polar expeditions, the summer months (June to August in the Arctic, November to February in Antarctica) offer the best conditions for wildlife viewing and exploration. Tropical expeditions may be best during the dry season when the weather is more predictable. Research your chosen destination to determine the optimal time for your voyage.