An expedition cruise is not an ordinary cruise, but what makes it so special? We asked Marlynda Elstgeest, CEO of Waterproof Cruises and Expeditions. As a diver and nature lover with a passion for the polar regions, she brought the concept together in Waterproof cruises and expeditions about 10 years ago.
Marlynda: “Visiting pristine and fascinating destinations with a small and comfortable ship, is what expedition cruising is all about. Think of destinations like Antarctica, Svalbard or northern Norway. But also warmer places like the Galapagos islands or the Amazon are great to discover on a small ship. The experience of the destination is what matters during an expedition cruise, which is possible on small-scale expedition vessels, luxury yachts, ice breakers or modern cruise ships. Always comfortable and personal, with a small group of travellers from 12 to about 200 passengers. Because you are travelling with such a small number of people, it’s easy to get into contact with other travelers which makes part of the fun. You are on a journey with like-minded people who are all experiencing something truly unforgettable.”
“The experience of the destination is what matters during an expedition cruise.”
The program of an expedition cruise is usually more flexible than on a normal cruise. There is a constant need to take the weather, ice and other nature conditions in account during the trip. That makes every trip unique and makes it possible to respond to the wishes of our travellers. For example, when polar bears have been spotted, the captain can decide to stay in that place a little longer so that everyone has enough time to admire the animals. Marlynda: “We really focus on experiencing nature in the best ways during an expedition cruise. To enhance this experience, you can participate in daily adventurous activities. Usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You will enter small rubber boats (zodiacs), that will either take you ashore or for a ride on the water. You will always be accompanied by a guide who will tell you all about the surrounding nature and animals. Also on board there are lectures given by experts on a wide range of topics. It is our mission to inform travellers about sustainable tourism and how to keep the impact on nature to a minimum as much as possible. For the adventurers amongst us there are activities such as kayaking, diving or polar snorkelling. The last one being the most unique way to get close to nature.”
Waterproof introduced polar snorkeling a few years ago on expedition cruises to Antarctica. Basically anyone can participate, as you don’t need to have any diving experience. In a small group, joined by an experienced guide that drives the zodiac, you will head to a good snorkeling spot. Imagine yourself entering the water and seeing a group of orca’s swim right below you while they are chasing herring. A memory that will always stay with you.
The special features of an expedition cruise in a list
- Small ships
- Close to nature
- Unique destinations
- Zodiac excursions
- Meet like-minded guests
- Adventurous activities
- Edutainment on board
- Experienced guides
Waterproof Expeditions works with a close team of experienced employees. For years they have dived, snorkelled, photographed and explored the most distant and special places on earth. Marlynda: “We are convinced that through personal experience we can give the best advice for the choice of an expedition cruise. Choosing a destination depends on what your travel dream is. Do you want to swim with orcas or whales, see the Northern lights, walk in the footsteps of a well-known polar explorer or explore the clear blue waters in the tropical Pacific? This forms the base of your travel and is used to find the right destination, time, date and vessel for your trip. During summer you can travel to the high Arctic where Spitsbergen, Greenland and Canada are popular destinations to see polar bears and whales. When winter starts in the north, summer arrives in the Antarctic. The ice will melt just enough for vessels to reach the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly part of mainland Antarctica. Here you can find penguins, seals and whales in a white world of glaciers and huge icebergs. Tropical destinations are also great for expedition cruising, especially if you want to discover a world below the surface while diving or snorkeling”.
Expedition cruises are full of adventure, wildlife and excitement. Find out more about the possibilities and differences in expeditions, cruises, vessels and all the unique and wonderful destinations you can travel to.
You choose, it’s your dream.. we take you there!