Having loved the experience herself, Travel Counsellor Nicki Harrison explains just what adventure and expedition cruises can offer, and why their popularity is on the rise.
‘We’ve been blessed with a good summer this year, with good weather lasting well into October, but I think it’s fair to say winter has now come to Guernsey. With the noticeable drop in temperature, I can’t help but switch my focus to what people might choose as a winter holiday with a difference. One such option, in my opinion, is adventure and expedition cruises, many of which are really in their element in the winter months.
Explore the Northern Lights in style
Having done the journey myself, the first one that always comes to mind is ‘The Most Beautiful Journey’ up the Norwegian coastline to the northern tip of Europe with Hurtigruten cruises. Hurtigruten have been offering Norwegian coastal sailings since 1893 and are still used by the locals to travel from ports that are difficult to access by land, as well as tourists looking to visit popular ports along the way, including Alesund, Trondheim and Tromso.
‘On top of seeing a truly unique area of the world and up to 34 different ports of call (in as little as 8 days), by going in the winter you are also giving yourself one of the best opportunities to see Mother Nature’s ultimate light show, the Northern Lights. To top it all off, during your cruise, you’ll also get a multitude of chances to try some amazing excursions including husky rides, snowmobiling and, in the heart of winter, you can sometimes extend your stay in an ice hotel too.’
Luxury in the wilds of Antartica
‘If we are going to talk about expedition cruises, however, we have to talk about what is possibly the ultimate expedition and a trip to be found on many a bucket-list: Antarctica, a continent where nature is still very much in charge.
For those who make the journey, your sailing will usually start in Ushuaia and head south through the Falklands and South Georgia. As you sail, the backdrop slowly changes from modern life to rugged glaciers and it’s easy to see why South Georgia is known as the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean. Its unique position in the Antarctica ecosystem makes it home to millions of penguins, seals and seabirds.
Finally, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, feeling the air get cold and crisp, spot icebergs on the horizon and finally experience something breathtakingly different from anywhere else in the world – the frozen Antarctic tundra and the wildlife that call it home. This is a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.’
Experience the rarely travelled wilderness of Australasia
‘In winter, however, not everyone wants feel the chill or see snow. In fact, many of us would rather get as far away from it as possible. Last month, I had the pleasure of learning just how you can do that thanks to a visit from the team at True North Adventure Cruises. Offering sailings in the stunning Australian South-West Coast and Kimberley Wilderness, as well as journeys to Indonesia, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea, True North are truly unique.
‘The team curate activity-based itineraries that specifically exclude sea days and offer access to stunning coastal environments that cannot be easily accessed by larger ships or by land, giving you a true feel of discovering each and every place you’ll visit. They have multiple adventure boats too, giving each guest a greater opportunity to customise their journey and really see and do what they want, when they want, during the trip. And to add yet another dimension, most itineraries feature an on-board helicopter.
‘So if your idea of a perfect winter escape is meandering through the shallow coastal waters of South Australia or sipping champagne as you sail up the King George River to the majestic twin falls (which True North can literally get you close enough to have a shower underneath), then this is the experience for you.
‘If you’ve had an adventure or expedition experience and would like to share your memories, I’d love to hear from you but otherwise, until next time…’
For more information, contact Nicki Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.