Who Is An Expedition Cruise For?

Given the broad range of itineraries available across all the expedition ships, it is safe to say that there will be an expedition cruise suitable for literally everyone! In today’s advanced cruise world, the cruise lines are savvy about their guest and know that there is no perfect, one size fits all ideal and as such, they curate different options to appeal to a wider audience. When it comes to certain regions for an expedition cruise, you might find that many of the itineraries are similar across the cruise.

At Panache Cruises, we are the experts in all things expedition cruise so we are well-placed to get to know you on a personal level, find out your likes, dislikes and travel aspirations and from this we can recommend the right itinerary and put together the perfect cruise experience for you.

So whether you are an intrepid adventurer in the making, a lover of wildlife and exotic species, or an island lover, there really will be an expedition to suit you.

Tahiti French Polynesia

Which Cruise Lines Offer Expedition Cruises?

There are several cruise lines which offer expedition cruises and some which say they offer them – and there is a bit of a difference between the two! At Panache Cruises, we take extra care to only work with partners who we can trust to deliver the right level of service to our customers and for the most part, this is a luxury. When it comes to expedition cruising, there is a little difference in the service some cruise lines offer but as the whole point of an expedition cruise is to really see the destinations to their fullest, we find some guests will prefer a slightly more rustic experience. For those who which to be an intrepid adventurer who can retreat to supreme luxury at the end of a long day of exploring, then don’t worry as there are plenty of ships which deliver this in droves!

Our preferred expedition cruise line partners include:

  • Aurora Expeditions
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Hurtigruten Expeditions
  • Ponant Expeditions
  • Quark Expeditions
  • Scenic Cruises
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea Expeditions
Celebrity Flora

How Expensive Is An Expedition Cruise?

How long is a piece of string?! You can spend as much as you wish; there might be an elevated price when compared to a standard cruise but this is because of the extra level of destination immersion involved. The carefully curated itineraries, with mostly included shore excursions, travelling to remote destinations and the fact that there will be a whole host of experts on board to educate and guide you every step of the way are all very worthy of every penny they will cost.

Some itineraries will of course encounter conditions which are more arduous or more delicate and the ships have had to be specially built to handle this so again, there will be costs associated with that. But the simply truth is, when you look at the experience you will have from the destinations you’ll see, to the wildlife you’ll encounter, to the expert knowledge and the impeccable service and facilities on your ship, an Expedition Cruise is worth it no matter what the price is.

Scenic Eclipse Helipad

What Is Life Like On Board An Expedition Cruise?

Whilst there will be some elements reminiscent of any other type of luxury cruise, particularly with the same cruise lines, you cannot expect it to be exactly the same. The focus here is on the destinations and getting to know them rather than black-tie events and formal dining.

In many cases, whilst the ships might be more intimate to reach the places that larger ships cannot, you will find an exceptionally high level of facilities with all the luxury amenities you could hope for.

Fine dining will be offered by fantastic chefs across multiple dining venues and in some cases, you can expect a local influence too. The service will not be compromised as your crew will be as attentive as ever, offering you personalisation and indulgence.

What you will find on board are several of the same types of activities that might be on a standard ocean cruise but the key difference is the expedition team and the educational opportunities they provide.

Celebrity Cruises Glamping

From discovery centres to lectures about the species, environment and habitats you’ll be visiting, but not only that, the expedition team will guide you on your trips to explain everything in the world around you.

On board you’ll be mingling with a small group of like-minded travellers who are there to experience everything you are and it is this fabulous sense of community that forms which sets and Expedition Cruise apart from most others.

Yes, there will be some differences to the cruises you might have been on before but there is not detriment at all when you are in receipt of the kind of wonderment that only comes with seeing the most iconic and remote places on earth.

Hurtigruten Expeditions

What Destinations Can I Visit On An Expedition Cruise?

Unlike some other holiday options, an Expedition Cruise’s sole purpose is to show you as much of the world as possible, and often in different ways. The key focus on any Expedition Cruise is the destination itself, with ships specially built to respect the local environment as much as possible by causing minimal disruption. Excursions are carefully put together by regional experts to ensure that all guests will see, learn and experience more and the on board enrichment programmes will continue to educate you.

So choosing where to go on your Expedition Cruise is crucial to your enjoyment. The problem is, how do you choose where to go? With so many incredible places to discover, the choice will be tough, But we have out some highlights below and when you are ready to start discussing your Expedition Cruise, our Connoisseurs will really get to know you, your likes and dislikes and the things which set your soul on fire. And with that information, we will be able to help put together your perfect Expedition Cruise holiday.

From the classic polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic, to the perhaps more unique destinations of the Kimberley (Australia), Indian and Pacific Oceans, Northern Lights, and Galapagos, there is a vast range of exciting destinations to explore on an adventurous Expedition Cruise.

Antarctica
Antarctica
Kimberley
Kimberley
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Galapagos
Galapagos

What Can I See And Do On An Expedition Cruise?

An Expedition Cruise is destined to take you to remote lands and explore the natural wonders that other holidays would not allow you to. As destination-focussed, you can expect to see a whole wealth of wildlife, natural landscapes and even meet the local communities you will happen upon across your travels.

Wonders such as volcanoes, icebergs, glaciers, fjords, waterfalls, rainforests, deserts and so much more can form the basis of Expedition Cruises.

Island paradises and the tropical life which exists in the surrounding waters will also be on the agenda if you so desire. Species which you will only find in those specific parts of the world are there to be spotted, from the Giant tortoise in the Galapagos to the Andean Condor.


You’ll see polar bears roaming the tundra, humpback whales breaching the icy waters, seals darting about, and dolphins playing right next to your ship.

Orcas are an incredible sight to see, as are narwhals and iguanas relaxing on craggy coastlines. Learn about the history and culture of the local communities and even get to spend time with them. On certain Expedition Cruises, you’ll seen manmade feats such as the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge but then in others, you’ll be clinging on to the hope that natural phenomenon such as the Northern Lights make their appearance just in time for you to see them.

On an Expedition Cruise, you really need to take as much opportunity as possible to see the world around you and by learning about the regions, you’ll get more out of your trip too.

Don’t pass up your chance to feel like an explorer, wandering the remotest parts of the earth for the very first time and see as much of our natural world as you possibly can.

Sea Kayaking

Will I Learn A Lot On An Expedition Cruise?

Unless you are an expert naturalist, specialising in the region you’re visiting then the short answer is, yes. And then you’ll learn some more. An Expedition Cruise is supposed to show you the world in all its natural glory, taking you closer to the heart of certain regions and showing you places which are much less travelled. The idea is to bring you into the environment by completely immersing you and in order for you to truly appreciate that which you are seeing, you will need to learn certain things about it.

The cruise lines enable this by firstly creating a programme of excursions which perfectly showcases all the highlights and hidden gems that a destination has to offer. Secondly, they do this by offering an enrichment programme whilst you are on board. This includes a range of lectures, tutorials and Q&A sessions. You can also take time outside of this to chat to those in the know. In order to provide you with the right information, your expedition ship will have a whole team of experts permanently on board.

Photography Cruise

How Fit Do I Need To Be?

Again, this will all depend on the type of Expedition Cruise you are heading on. If the itinerary will benefit the most from some intrepid adventures such as hiking up volcanoes or mountain tops, then a base level of fitness would be recommended.

Expedition Cruises offer incredible experiences which should be enjoyed to the maximum. However, when we are talking to you about your perfect voyage, we will help you to understand what type of cruise and activities we are looking at so you know how suitable it is for you.

The beauty of using a specialist such as Panache Cruises for booking Expedition Cruises is that we have a broad array of experience across all the different types of cruising and cruise lines. This means we are in a very strong position to advise you of the intricacies of them all and cultivate a holiday which will suit you down to the ground, especially when it is as indulgent as an Expedition Cruise.

Hurtigruten Snowshoeing

Will I Need Specialist Equipment?

As there are so many different types of Expedition Cruise available, from the Caribbean to Australia, Greenland to the Galapagos and even the polar opposite ends of the earth, it really depends on where your Expedition Cruise is taking you.

If you’re heading to the West Coast of the USA, it is unlikely you will require anything out of the ordinary unless you are planning some very extreme activities whilst there! But if you will be heading on an adventure to Antarctica, you will absolute need something outside of your normal wardrobe requirements.

In terms of certain specific items, such as parkas and snow boots, many of the Expedition Cruise lines will provide this for you on the ship as it could pose a few problems trying to bring it all in your suitcase! Your Panache Cruises Connoisseur will also be able to help with the right things you need to pack.

Expedition Equipment

What Should I Pack For An Expedition Cruise?

Expedition Cruises come in all shapes and sizes, from an exploration of the polar regions to a discovery of tropical islands. Although each itinerary will vary slightly, we recommend making sure you have the following:

  • Important documents - get in touch and we can help you with your documentation
  • Good footwear with grippy soles - trainers are a must and boots are essential for any hiking excursions or polar voyages
  • A good camera to capture memories
  • Formal wear for luxury cruises which may include a formal night - but check with us first as many expeditions are casual
  • Thermal clothing for polar cruises - on the other hand sunhats, sunglasses, and light coverings for hot destinations
  • Binoculars for those avid wildlife watchers on board

Read more about what to pack for an Expedition Cruise on our blog, here.

Greenland Hiking

What Excursions Can I Take Part In?

A huge benefit to Expedition Cruises - and one reason why they often appeal to younger couples and families - is that there is an emphasis on active excursions. There is a broad spectrum of activities on offer, depending on the destination.

On an Expedition Cruise in the tropics, for example, water-based activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, and submersible excursions are popular and allow guests to see the vast array of tropical underwater marine life. In Alaska, cruisers will enjoy hiking and kayaking, whilst an Antarctic cruise might involve polar plunges, snowshoeing, or a helicopter ride over the Peninsula.

One thing's for sure - make the most of your activities and excursions as they will help create a fully immersive destination experience on any Expedition Cruise.

Kimberley Zodiac Cruise

How Many People Will Be On Board?

This is all dependent on which cruise line you travel with and which ship you sail on. Some destinations, such as Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, only allow a certain number of passengers to sail in the region and step foot on land at any one time.

Our luxury Expedition Cruise Line partners usually cater to around 100-200 guests, with some ships being as small as 16-person capacity and others as many as 530 passenger capacity.

No matter your voyage, we are confident that you will enjoy an intimate small-ship Expedition Cruise.

Quark Expeditions Passengers

Do I Need Any Medical Forms To Board An Expedition Cruise?

During these unprecedented times, medical forms and test results are more important than ever. Rules for testing are ever-changing depending on the destination you are visiting, so please get in touch with us so that we can give you up-to-date and relevant advice.

Covid vaccinations are key and most cruise lines require full vaccination status, but again please get in touch for updated advice.

In general, Expedition Cruises require a higher level of fitness than a regular ocean cruise, so you will need to have written support from your doctor stating that you are fit to travel on an active Expedition Cruise. If you are unsure about any medical conditions or destination-based vaccinations, please consult your GP and then declare any health concerns prior to booking with us.

Ponant Le Commandant Charcot

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