|Proboscis Monkey in Borneo, Malaysia taken while on an
Azamara Club Cruise Bali, Indonesia to Osaka, Japan
Some people automatically think that a cruise is clearly not the way to engage nature or the exotics. Ironically, in many instances, cruising is not only the best way; it is the ONLY way. (You think you can just fly into that tiny Seychelles island or Cambodian village? Not happening!)
And, to be honest, because of the aforesaid misperception, there are some pretty great deals to be had this winter and spring…just waiting for the sophisticated (or simply adventurous) traveler.
Here is a bit of a rundown of some of the major truly exotic destination cruise lines and generally what they are offering in the way of style, amenities and locales. If you want more information (or, ‘er um, want to really “explore” your options) give me a call or drop me an email.
Seabourn provides more of a traditional luxury cruise, with a highly inclusive product, but with expedition adventures. It has received stellar reviews from those seeking a taste of the exotic expedition, but with all the comfort, service and cuisine they expect on a Seabourn cruise. Seabourn has operated Antarctic cruises for a few years now and, it seems, they get better and better.
|Seabourn Quest – January 2016
Photo courtesy of Captain Geir-Arne Thue-Nislen
I regularly have clients onboard the 450 guest Seabourn Quest (with its ice-rated hull) being thrilled not only with the the views, wildlife, zodiac adventures and landings, but dining with Thomas Keller (of the French Laundry and Bouchon) cuisine. Terms like “Fabulous”, “Incredible”, “Breathtaking” are the norm. The Seabourn Quest has expanded its expedition adventures from its traditional longer combined Antarctica and Patagonia cruises (21 days and longer) to include the North Atlantic (Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, and Greenland as examples) and this summer, the British Isles and Ireland. (Note: Antarctic zodiac and landings are included, but other shore excursions may be an additional cost.)
|A little hike in Norway
after a zodiac expedition around the northernmost point in Europe
Starting in 2017 Seabourn is sending the Seabourn Sojourn to Alaska with a variety of cruises between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, Canada. Initial interest has been quite high.
|Silversea Expedition’s Silver Explorer|
Silversea Expeditions has one of the most comprehensive expedition fleets and itineraries in the world. When combined with the luxury level of service and cuisine, Silversea Expeditions provides nearly endless opportunities.
Silversea’s fleet includes:
Silversea Expedition current ships are purpose built and are able to visit, and explore in depth, some extremely remote and otherwise inaccessible locales while also providing you with an all-inclusive experience from complimentary beverages to butler service…and with complimentary expedition activities and shore excursions in all ports.
Crystal Cruises is doing some pretty amazing things of late, working hard to re-brand and refocus itself. Presently there are two exotic cruises that are worth mentioning.
|Crystal Esprit and its two man submarine
(And you may even be given the chance to drive it!)
Crystal Esprit is Crystal Cruises new 62 guest yacht which plies the Indian Ocean and the Seychelles in the winter months on a series of repeating seven day cruises. In addition to exploring the islands it visits, you are given the unique opportunity to also explore underwater with its two person submarine. (And, yes, if you are good, you may be given the opportunity to drive it! My friend said it was “awesome”!) One thing to consider, it is a long way to go for a seven day cruise, so Crystal actually starts things off with a 2 or 4 night stay in Dubai…and I highly recommend at least two days afterwards to experience one of the Seychelles unique hotels.
In a one-off sailing the Crystal Serenity has a 32 day Northwest Passage cruise from Anchorage to New York departing August 16, 2016 traveling well above the Arctic Circle above Canada.
AmaWaterways has three more exotic itineraries that are well worth considering. One of my personal favorites is their Vietnam and Cambodia combination of land and Mekong River cruise where you spend time in North Vietnam in Hanoi and Halong Bay, fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia visiting Angkor Wat and other temples, then travel down the Mekong River to Saigon (Ho Chi Min City) on a 164 passenger upscale river cruise ship.. It is far more in-depth and personal than any ocean cruise could possibly offer. “Life-changing”, “Incredibly Insightful”, “Awe-Inspiring” and “Unlike anything I have ever experienced” are phrases used to describe this experience.
|AmaWaterways Mekong River cruise through Cambodia
Ox Cart Ride to a Buddhist Temple
Interested in a “taste” of Africa but do not want to go on a traditional safari, AmaWaterways, utilizing the 28 passenger Zambezi Queen, combines a shorter river cruise with time in Capetown, Victoria Falls, Johannesburg, and, if you like, a three night train experience to Pretoria.
Myanmar is another exotic destination that AmaWaterways explores in-depth with a 14 day river cruise, stopping at 18 different destinations along the way; offering you are more than the typical ocean cruise 3-4 day orchestrated experience.
|Lindland’s National Geographic Orion
providing one of its more luxurious expedition/exotic experiences
If you are looking for a more affordable, and probably more rustic, exotic trip, G Adventures might just be the perfect option for you. It has an extensive choice of escorted itineraries from Galapagos cruises to Amazon River Cruises to land trips from Morocco to Patagonia ranging from essentially tents and trucks (and public transportation) to quite comfortable three star hotels and tours.
|G Adventures Peruvian Amazon River Cruise|
I truly enjoyed my Amazon River cruise with my son. It was definitely more comfortable and easier going than my prior experience sleeping in shed with latrines, no electricity and travel by canoe or powered row boat. There is, of course, a trade-off between comfort and truly in-depth experiential hikes and wildlife observation, but for most it is great balance.
The opportunities for exotic or expedition travel is not limited to what I have mentioned so far. In fact, because there are so many different levels comfort, depth of experience, time constraints, distances to travel, etc., virtually every travel operator touches upon exotic, if not expedition, travel. I would, for example, be remiss if I did not mention the breadth and quality available from Ambercrombie & Kent (having sent clients on very successful journeys from India to Patagonia), Tauck (for a more polished luxury experience) or Big Five Tours (who have put together an incredible ultra-luxury African safari and shark diving experience for some of my clients).
It is a big world out there! Goldring Travel is here with the experience, knowledge, service and connections to not only assist you, but to assure your expectations are exceeded…while staying within your budget!
Please give me a call:
United States: (877) 2GO-LUXURY
United Kingdom: 020 8133 3450
Australia: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 732 578 8585
Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.